The power of positive thinking goes a long way when you compete for top spot in a fishing tournament. But there are also certain pitfalls to avoid—bad habits and tactical errors that can “push the needle towards the losing side,” according to Arkansas angler and Old Town pro Jeff Malott. In this video, Malott shares his top five ways to lose a fishing tournament, “especially a kayak bass fishing tournament!” Do any ring a bell?
5 Ways to Lose a Fishing Tournament
Malott’s first tip is to ignore dock talk and focus on your own fishing plans first. “You know, it is really, really, really hard to catch other people’s fish,” he notes. Paying attention to the rumour mill can get your mindset all messed up. “Half the fun of fishing, anyways, is figuring this stuff out on our own,” Malott says.
Next up is not checking your gear in advance. You might get away with it, but more likely you’ll be asking for trouble when wasted time counts the most.
Poor practice habits are another no-no. According to Malott this includes “not giving yourself enough time to practice, not doing the proper map study, and…fishing too hard or too much.” Focusing on fishing rather than scouting, even if you shake them off, can cause fewer bites on tournament day.
Control the Controllables or Take an L
The fourth error, Malott says, is going out without a clear backup plan—especially if you’re fishing from a non-motorized kayak. It’s a real drag to waste time and energy searching for alternatives when the tournament clock is ticking. “Always leave yourself an hour where you have a slight backup plan,” he advises, “in case plan A or B doesn’t work out.”
The fifth and final way to lose a fishing tournament is to neglect your health and fitness. From fitful sleep to a pounding hangover, tournaments can be full of pitfalls that take away from your performance. More broadly, a proper training regimen will help you last through long hours on the water.